I originally read this book in 2011 and until the newest book in the Dublin Murder Squad, The Trespasser, was published in 2016, The Likeness was my favorite Tana French book. I finished reading The Trespasser a few days ago and the experience made me want to re-read The Likeness. I knew that in five years, I would have forgotten most of the plot and I did find that it read like a brand new book for me.
The premise of the story is that a group of five university friends live in a house in a small village outside of Dublin. One of the young women in this group is found deceased from a stab wound in an old run down cottage on the outskirts of the village. When the police are called, they believe that it is one of their own, Detective Cassie Maddox that has been killed as she is a doppelganger for the deceased. The identification on the deceased’s body shows her name as Alexandra (Lexie) Madison, an alias that Cassie used in an undercover case a number of years prior. And so begins the plan to have Cassie go undercover and pretend that she is Lexie in order to try to determine who the killer is.
The story given to the four university friends is that Cassie has short-term amnesia and cannot remember the last few hours before she (Lexie) was stabbed and only recalls waking up in the hospital. This way if any of the four friends are the killer, this may put them at ease that Cassie/Lexie cannot remember the attack. Cassie easily slides into Lexie’s life and soon becomes entrenched in the lives of these friends to the point where her supervisor begins to get concerned that she is losing objectivity.
Once again Tana French delves into the psychological as we begin to get to know these characters. I enjoyed this book immensely the first time around and I enjoyed it just as much the second time. The only reason I could not give this book five stars is that although Cassie apparently looked exactly like Lexie, the probability of someone being able to successful slip into someone else’s life without notice, is next to impossible so while the premise of the story is intriguing, I felt I couldn’t give it five stars.